When I think about whether the Pixelbook could reasonably replace a MacBook or a Windows laptop, my gut says that, for most people, the answer is “no.” To solve the “last 10 percent” on a Pixelbook, you really have to be very savvy about how to navigate the different computing paradigms of Chrome and Android to make the whole thing work – and even then, it’s not easy. Unless you’re an expert in the ways of both the web and Android, it shouldn’t be your only computer.
If I were Apple or Microsoft, I would be thinking a lot about the generation of students who are savvy with Chromebooks and Android apps, and who might just want the same thing they’re used to from their classroom, just in a much nicer package. I don’t know that it’ll happen this year, though.
Honestly, I think the iPad Pro is a better comparison. On both devices, you can get quite a lot more done than you’d expect, but you have to deeply understand how the platform works to get there. And if you’re debating between them, here’s the TL;DR: the iPad Pro has better apps, is a tablet-first device, and has a worse web browser. The Pixelbook has worse apps, is a laptop-first device, and has a better web browser.
Dieter Bohn hits the nail on the head here – devices like the iPad Pro or the Pixelbook aren’t so much about converting traditional longtime desktop/laptop users – they’re about making sure that kids currently growing up with iOS and Android/Chrome OS devices in their pocket or at school have a powerful, all-purpose computing device they already know how to work with and that they already like for the future. It’s similar to how people wanted to have the same computer at home as they were using at work – IBM-compatible PCs with DOS and later Windows.
The fact that the iPad Pro and Pixelbook are already as good as they are should really worry Microsoft, most of all.